Everyone has heard of police dogs, but what about police cats? Police cats are not going to be performing the same jobs as dogs. They can’t exactly chase after the bad guys or anything of that sort. However, a few police departments around the world take advantage of a cat’s unique abilities to serve the community better.
Let’s take a look at the jobs of police cats around the world and how they are primarily utilized.
Where Are Police Cats?
Police cats are most popular in the UK, though they have dropped in popularity over the last decades. Police cats were commonly referred to as “station cats.” Their main job was to keep the mouse population under control while in the station. With more modern means of pest control, cats aren’t used quite as much anymore. However, many departments still have a traditional station cat, even if they aren’t catching quite as many mice.
This is most common in the rural areas, where cats and mice are easier to come by.
While mouse-catching was their original purpose, many of these cats are now mostly therapy animals. They provide stress relief to the officers.
What Do Police Cats Do?
Police cats used to catch mice mostly. Before modern pest control techniques, cats were the best option for keeping the mice population under control.
Today, many police cats serve as stress relief for busy officers. The cats offer playtime and companionship to officers that may otherwise be stressed out. For this reason, many police cats are on the more lovable side.
Some cats simply work as “mascots.” This is the case of the Boston Police Department, which has a mascot in their SWAT base. They have even installed a kitty condo to make the cat more comfortable. Again, these cats work more as stress relief than anything.
Can Cats Sniff Out Drugs?
Occasionally, cats are trained to sniff out contraband, including drugs. There are even some cadaver cats that are used to sniff out dead bodies. Cats have a similar sense of smell to dogs, so this isn’t super surprising.
Cats are used to sniff out more niche items as well, like illegal animal parts. For instance, Beluga caviar is illegal to own. In some areas, cats are used to sniff out this popular black-market item. This is particularly common in Russia. Cats usually don’t need to be trained for this job. They like finding fish!
Some cats have even died in Russia’s line of duty, killed by gangs who were trying to escape from the police.
Police Cats Receive a Lot of Press
Because they are generally uncommon, many police cats receive a lot of press. Many show up regularly in media stories. New Zealand has two police cats that are celebrities in their own right. Many have their own social media pages and receive regular stories on the local media.
The same is true for police cats in the United States. If your local department has a police cat, don’t be surprised if you see stories about them on the news.
Do Police Cats Have Uniforms?
Yes, police cats usually have uniforms of some sort. There isn’t an “official” uniform for police cats, and most are not particularly practical. However, many departments feel the need to make their station cat stand out a bit from the crowd and pick up a uniform for them. The cats may not wear their uniforms very often, but they can be helpful for public events. In many media stories, the cats will also wear their uniforms.
Why Aren’t Police Cats More Common?
There are several reasons why police cats may not be as popular as dogs. Firstly, they are not capable of performing many of the crime-fighting jobs that dogs do. They aren’t big enough to chase down a criminal or anything of that sort.
Secondly, cats aren’t as trainable as dogs in most cases. Many are intelligent enough to learn tricks, but they aren’t as reliable as dogs. In crime-fighting, following commands is often a matter of life or death.
Featured Image Credit: osobystist, Shutterstock